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  • Northern California

    While a lot of the threads are about DL and DCA (rightfully so) there are also a few other major attractions north of the Grapevine (way north). Other than myself, has anyone worked at Monterey Bay Aquarium (the great white shark is still alive)? What about visitors to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, home to one of the "significant inspirations" to California Screamin The Giant Dipper? There's also Paramount's Great America near San Jose and Marine World in Vallejo.
    Best interview answer: My biggest weakness is my honesty...I can never remember my lies!

  • #2
    We're from Northern CA but only have AP's for the Southern CA parks (DL, Knotts, Universal and Legoland).

    Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk is probably the only place up here that we frequent. It's a blast. Great for a variety of events (adults, kids, etc).

    Even when we only lived 15 minutes from Great America, we would never go. Too many wanna be gang-bangers there for our tastes. When Marriott sold out it went downhill fast. I was in high school when it opened and we would go there almost every weekend. Never any problems. Now it's a different story...

    I grew up hanging out at the old Marine World in RWC. It never was the same when they moved it to Vallejo. We did try their AP a couple of years ago which would also allow us to get into Magic Mtn for Fright Nights, but never renewed.

    We prefer to head south of the Grapevine for our theme park adventures.

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    • #3
      ITA with the poster above.

      I grew up in Fremont so I practically lived at Great America growing up once Marriott's was gone it lost so much appeal and went downhill so bad. We tried AP's for Great America in 2004, simply because we went over a weekend in Oct. 2003 and it was so cheap to get the rest of 03 and all of 2004. We only went a few times. My youngest never got into and said during each visit "I wanna go to Disneyland" over and over. While my oldest had a good time on the coasters he, being the HUGE disney geek that he is, felt the same way. Plus, it was always dirty and employees were subpar.

      Same with Marine World, once they moved it totally lost appeal for me. We've went a few times with the boys, once at Halloween & that was fun, but neither one of them enjoyed it, especially the last time when there was hardly any animal shows left. Not worth the trip at all.

      Santa Cruz, I LOVE Santa Cruz, I spent a whole lot of time there as a teenager!! A WHOLE LOT, but we don't get out there as much as I'd like, it's a lot longer of a drive from here than it was from Fremont.

      We're thinking of taking the boys to the Aquarium over one of the two 3 day weekends in Feb. though.

      There is so much more to do in NorCal, I don't want to waste my "themepark" choice on Great America or Marine World, JMHO.



      Delta Mu Chi Alpha ΔΜΧΑ

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Orcatime
        Other than myself, has anyone worked at Monterey Bay Aquarium (the great white shark is still alive)?
        I work at the aquarium now. I just saw the shark yesterday. She seems to be swimming fine, but there's a good sized cut on her snout. The husbandry team does not see it as a risk to the shark, though, which is good news.

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        • #5
          Totally agree with everyone about PGA, Paramount has really destroyed and continues to strip mine what was once a really nice park. But you should give SFMW another chance, park just gets better and better every year. And SCBB is definitely the jewel of our NorCal parks, just never gets old hanging out on the boardwalk!

          I'd also highly suggest Bonfante Gardens if you guys haven't been there yet, really beautiful and amazing park.
          "I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again..."- Bart Simpson

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          • #6
            I have some great photos of the circus that was at Marriott's Great America. I'll try to scan them. I lost Interest after Paramount took over. Not really because of the company but it didn't have the same feel.

            I agree about the Wanna be gang bangers, it was too much.
            1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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            • #7
              Unlike others here, I didn't go to Marine World before it moved, but did go around the time they added elephants. It was a nice enough place to spend the day and watching the two Orcas do tricks was a great way to cap the day. They peaked when they added the shark tank walk-through, I think.

              From then on, things got really bad for some reason. Maybe it was mismanaged, maybe people decided to travel to Sea World instead, or maybe the people here just weren't interested in animals without some vomit comet to ride. That last option is my pessimistic side talking, because NorCal is beautiful but it seems like the lowest common denominator in intelligence seems to rule a lot in these parts.

              So the management left and the City of Vallejo controlled it for a bit. I think they basically added mechanical dinosaurs while Jurassic Park was popular, then some other firm bought it and started adding a lot of carnival trash with one good coaster here and there. Someone got hurt at some point and local news did some reporting on whether the rides were bothering the animals, but if that changed any attitudes in the park I didn't know about it. Somewhere in this timeline, both the Orcas died.

              Whoever was running it at this point either sold it to or got merged into Six Flags. Six months ago I drove by the place for the first time in the many years since I've seen it, and it looks like your usual Six Flags with the bundled mess of neon-colored steel going every which way.

              Sigh.

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              • #8
                oops

                Originally posted by jomo
                I'd also highly suggest Bonfante Gardens if you guys haven't been there yet, really beautiful and amazing park.
                I totally forgot about BG, but then again that could be because I've never been there! :o

                From what I've gathered, it's kinda reminiscent of DL's very early days. Slow-paced, relaxing, natural.
                Best interview answer: My biggest weakness is my honesty...I can never remember my lies!

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                • #9
                  City of Vallejo still owns SFMW, Six Flags only manages it, with the option to purchase in 2007. The park was on the verge of closing, losing millions every year. Had SF not stepped in and brought new life into the park, it'd probably be closed by now.

                  Last year we got Shouka and a multi million dollar upgrade to the Killer Whale stadium, which was like bringing back the heart and soul to Marine World. And this years amazing new interative additions/expansion will be even better than any big coaster they could have put in IMO:

                  http://www.sixflags.com/parks/marineworld/index.asp

                  Be sure to check out the concept artwork in the photo gallery to see just how huge this expansion will be!

                  As for the rides, if you're not a coaster fan, I could see where this would not be a plus for you. But Six Flags has brought in the biggest and best arsenal of thrill rides unlike we've ever seen to the Bay Area. Nothing at PGA can even come close to the world class thrill rides we now have nearby at SFMW. And it's given the park a new chance at life, and I for one sure am glad to have such amazing coasters only an hour away from me (much closer than SoCal!).

                  From what I've gathered, it's kinda reminiscent of DL's very early days. Slow-paced, relaxing, natural.
                  Many people actually say it reminds them of a mini-DL, and it really does. It's like stepping into Alice's Wonderland with all the trees, flowers and plants formed and landscaped into whimsical unsual shapes. With each and every ride heavily themed to some sort of plant, fruit or local history to blend it with it's surroundings, it really is like stepping into some sort of fantasyland. The absense of big thrills rides here actually works to it's advantage, since the pace is indeed much slower and much more relaxed. I've taken many people who absolutely despise PGA, and have fallen in love with BG, it's really that good!
                  "I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again..."- Bart Simpson

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                  • #10
                    Marine World was in Redwood City before Vallejo. Just a nice F.Y.I.
                    1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Orcatime
                      I totally forgot about BG, but then again that could be because I've never been there! :o

                      From what I've gathered, it's kinda reminiscent of DL's very early days. Slow-paced, relaxing, natural.
                      Silly Question, But where is BonFante Gardens?
                      Thanks
                      1st Amendment-Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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                      • #12
                        Directions

                        Originally posted by TicTocDragon
                        Silly Question, But where is BonFante Gardens?
                        Thanks
                        Along 152 Hecker Pass going to Gilroy.
                        Best interview answer: My biggest weakness is my honesty...I can never remember my lies!

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                        • #13
                          I always like MW much better in RWC! The raft rides and the water ski show were much better. Was never the same after the move.The whole coaster thing really messed the park up for me in later years. I agree with the vibration issue from the coaters, messing with the animals. I was also amazed at the lack of SHADE at that park. I hope it is better now!

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                          • #14
                            I visited Six Flags Marine World during a NoCal visit about five years ago. It seemed like they needed to make a decision whether to be a marine park or ride park, because they weren't really doing either. If they put some good money and effort into it though, the combo marine/thrill ride park could be very entertaining. I was actually surprised at how good their few coasters were (Medusa and Roar), but the park on the whole felt very dead. Nonetheless, it was still provided for good half-day's entertainment on a side trip from San Francisco (the fact that my Magic Mountain season pass was good there didn't hurt).

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                            • #15
                              We to are from NoCal. There was a lot of hype when Bonfante Gardens openned so we went for openning day. I expected to see cars lined up on 101 before the Heckler Pass exit and bumper to bumper all the way to the park. It was not to be...the grand openning and ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the entrance with Michael Bonfante cutting the ribbon and making a welcome speech. It was kinda sad how small the crowd was. But once we were in the park WOW!!! we just loved it. The park is quaint , lush, entertaining and clean. No high tech roller coasters though. But who can pass up the Garlic Twirl, or the Artichoke Dip or the Roundabout boats. Check out the website www.bonfantegardens.com. For those in NoCal support this park I think with patronage and time this will be an amazing park! Of course I am a huge fan of Fairyland in Oakland Ca and have been since the walk through shoe seemed cavenrous to me lol. We no longer live in the SF bay area but I am thinking that maybe now that I have a grandson I have that "all adults must be accomponied by a child" reason to go there again.

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